Disgaea 2: Dark Hero Days

disgaea2
What we liked:
+ Awesome voice acting
+ Great music
+ Unprecedented strategic depth
+ Great visuals
What we didn't like:
- Hard as Hell
- It's really freaking hard
- Did I say it's hard?
Rating
9.0
DEVELOPER: Nippon Ichi Software   |   PUBLISHER: NIS America   |   RELEASE: 09/08/2009

Sometimes you got a little Hell to pay.

One bright and sunny day, I went to one of my favorite independent game stores to check out what was cool in gaming at the time. I was in the mood for something off the wall and different, but still good. This store had a limited import section that I would always gravitate toward, but the prices were sometimes outrageous, however I did buy the occasional overpriced Japanese game from time to time. After buying an absolutely delicious Monster Assault Energy Drink, the store’s worker introduced me to a very quirky and insanely nuts title from a company called Nippon Ichi. Now, this store was very cool, due to the fact that you could play any game in the whole store; sadly the place was closed after a few years. I remember sitting down with my energy drink on a hard plastic chair and playing the first half-hour of a game called Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, needless to say I was hooked.

Many years had gone by, and Disgaea mania was spreading among the hardcore gamers with Japanese tastes. Disgaea would get some sequels that would eventually equal into a trilogy, a trilogy of painful delights. Disgaea would even spawn an anime series that acted as an alternate universe. Two major art books were also released in the states and a 2D PSP action platformer made its essence known to the world of gaming as one of the hardest action games this side of Ghost and Goblins. I was overjoyed when the original Disgaea was released on the PSP and DS platforms, and they were well received due to the idea of taking the battle with you on the go. Now, NIS America and Nippon Ichi present to you, a port of the PS2 classic, Disgaea 2: Dark Hero Days for the Sony PSP.

Now one of the things that I love so much about this game is the world that Disgaea takes place in. The world of Disgaea takes place in the Netherworld, which is a nice way of saying Hell in that cute Japanese anime sort of way. The story of Disgaea 2 starts off in the once peaceful region of Veldime which used to be populated by humans until one day the evil Overlord Zenon (yes, another overlord, goodness) turns the human population into demons. (But don’t be afraid these demons are cute, just like Hello Kitty) The only surviving human is a boy with a questionable fashion sense (how Project Runway of me) named Adell. However, Adell is forced to live with his demonic family, which I must say would really suck ass.

One bright and beautiful day Adell’s mother attempts to summon the Overlord Zenon at the price of the rest of the family, but Adell tries to reason with her. Adell’s mother makes a comment about how you would only die for a short time, due to the fact that you are demons, and to shut up. (And you thought your family had problems) Well, the sacrifice was made, kind of, and instead of summoning the Overlord Zenon we get his daughter. It is here that we are introduced to Princess Rozalin, Zenons daughter, and bit of a cutie pie. (She is a succubus for crying out load) Long story short, Adell’s quest is to fight lots and lots of demons on his way to defeat the Overlord Zenon, lift the demonic curse, and possible fall in love. God bless, the Japanese, that’s all I have to say about that.

Just like all Disgaea games, Disgaea 2 is a turn based strategy game where you control the fate of Adell, Princess Rozalin and a large host of demonic creatures. (Most of which are very cute) The battlefields are grid based, very much like Final Fantasy Tactics, and are very structurally dynamic in nature. Some of the battlefields look almost like strategic labyrinths, by which lends it to almost limitless premeditated opportunities. Now, something that you must know about the Disgaea series as a whole, these games are very difficult, if you have never played a turn based strategy game, I highly recommend the Disgaea series after you have gotten your feet wet on other titles. Not only do you have to worry about fighting monsters, but you also have to keep other things in mind as well such as Geo symbols and Chain combos. This game can be very taxing on your mind and frustration will set in, due to the fact that you must become an expert at this game just to survive the game. However, with that said, Disgaea can also become one of the most rewarding games out there, due to the fact that every single victory is a major accomplishment.

One of the other things that I love about the Disgaea series is the art and graphical style that it conveys. Thanks to the PSP, Disgaea 2 looks absolutely incredible on the screen. Just the way that the colors almost jump out at you, giving you the illusion of lush green forests and the absolute horrors of the volcanic and desolate battlefields of the Netherworld. Also, artist Takehito Harada brings his A-Game to the fore-front of the series once again, due to his very creative and masterful character designs.

Another way that the world of Disgaea comes alive is though the game’s soundtrack and voice acting. Disgaea 2′s soundtrack is an astounding accomplishment in video game composition due to the variety of musical styles. From the upbeat town music, to the dark evil themes of the Netherworld’s kingdom, to the futuristic vintage classical gaming pieces; Disgaea 2′s soundtrack is one for the CD shelves.

I do, however, feel that the voice acting in Disgaea 2 is one of its strongest technical achievements. The characters and the world just come alive though the great voice acting talent. I feel as if I’m watching a Grade-A animated feature film whenever the characters of Disgaea 2 speak. The voice acting team did a great job on this game and should be congratulated on a job well done.

In my humble opinion, Disgaea 2: Dark Hero Days for the PSP is the definitive Disgaea portable experience. From the widescreen presentation to the sound and voice work, the PSP is the benchmark for Disgaea on the go. Two new features can also be discovered in the PSP version. The first being addition story elements with the character Axel and secondly the new feature call Magichange which was first introduced in Disgaea 3 for the PS3. So if you want to submerge yourself in strategic goodness then by all means, pick up your copy of Disgaea 2 Dark Hero Days for the Sony PSP today, and yes the exploding Prinnies are in there as well, see yah dood!

Jason Gambrel

If you don't know Gambus, you are not paying attention. Gambus is unstoppable, he is one, he IS the internets. Greetings programs...